By Leopold Scholtz (auth.)

ISBN-10: 023051331X

ISBN-13: 9780230513310

ISBN-10: 1349525189

ISBN-13: 9781349525188

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11 The soldiers were fleeing from all sides back to Ladysmith, but Joubert forbade his burghers to pursue the enemy. 12 Historians differ on the wisdom or lack thereof of Joubert’s decision. H. Breytenbach, who compiled the official South African history of the war, had a different point of view. He argued on the one hand that the Boers did not have a disciplined army and that Joubert consequently, ‘especially since they were exhausted after the intensive fighting, could not impose those demands that a career officer was able to do on his regular troops’.

29 The subsequent battles, during which General Sir Redvers Buller attempted to penetrate through the Boer positions and to relieve Ladysmith, will be discussed in the following chapter. The Cape western front Similar to the position in Natal, the invasion on the Cape western front proceeded very sluggishly and slowly. In addition the Boers’ operational actions were quite incomprehensible. S. BLOEMFONTEIN Ingogo NA TA L Dundee Estcourt TRANSVAAL BASUTOLAND PIETERMARITZBURG CAPE COLONY n ea n dia Oc Newcastle In KAAPSTAD 100 km ER G 0 E N SB ORANGE FREE STATE A K Dundee B I G G A R S B E R D R Harrismith Klip TALANA HILL G Elandslaagte Modderspruit NICOLSONSNEK LOMBARDSKOP N A T A L Ladysmith SPION KOP VAALKRANS Colenso HLANGWANE la ge Tu a el Tug DOORNKOP i oo M Estcourt BRYNBELLA BASUTOLAND Map 5 The Natal Campaign, 1899–1900 Town Fight Railway line Border River Contour The Boer Offensive 35 Cronjé, who was Commander in Chief here, decided to choose Mafeking as his objective, a town which was operationally insignificant for two reasons.

If they had advanced to the three railway junctions of Stormberg, Noupoort and De Aar immediately after 11 October 1899, they could have stopped the British efforts to invade the Free State in their tracks for some considerable time. A look at the map should convince anyone that the whole of the Cape western front would have become superfluous in such an event and that all the available burghers could have been employed at the southern front. The Boers, however, occupied only Stormberg, resulting in the way being clear for Lord Methuen to advance to the Orange River via De Aar and Noupoort.

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